The Availability of Motives

Steven Sverdlik

in Motive and Rightness

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199594948
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725401 | DOI:
The Availability of Motives

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The first part of this chapter is devoted to psychological issues about the availability of motives to a rational agent in a limited time. Certain arguments about the deontic relevance of motives due to Kant and Ross turn on these issues. The availability of the sense of duty is examined. Three types of availability of motives are distinguished: epistemic, affirmative and operative. Kant's own remarks are used to show that the sense of duty is incompletely available operatively. The motives of self‐interest and sympathy are then considered. The availability of these motives to a rational agent is structurally similar to the availability of the sense of duty. The availability of feelings is a separate matter. In the second part three casuistical questions are addressed employing extrinsic consequentialism: the significance of feelings; the relevance of unconscious motives; and the possibility of performing the same action at one time rightly or wrongly.

Keywords: motives; sense of duty; self‐interest; sympathy; Kant; W. D. Ross; feelings; consequentialism; unconscious

Chapter.  12995 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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